WWE Conference Call Notes: Punk, TV Rights Deals, Network


Credit: Larry Csonka

The call started at 11:04 AM ET.

Vince McMahon and WWE financial executive George Barrios will take part in the call.

Vince McMahon started off the call, and says things were about where they expected them to be. The weekly TV audience has grown 19% and their social media presence has grown over 80%.

They signed new TV deals internationally in the UK and Thailand, which were better than the old deals. They are the #1 and #3 markets for WWE, outside of the US.

They are happy with the Total Divas show, are moving into new toys (The Stackdown set) and will work with the Flintstones and Scooby-Doo for new film projects.

They expect to complete the US TV negotiations by late April.

They will continue to work on new International TV deals as they expire to get a higher TV rights fee.

Vince says they are extremely excited for the launch of the Network on Monday.

The majority of cable and satellite distributors have agreed to air WrestleMania, and from there, will decide on PPV carriage on a month by month basis. They then added it is about 85% coverage of the US.

They broke down the key financials, which are broken down section by section in the 411 news section.

Total Divas increasing viewership by over 150% from the programming it replaced on the E! Network.

WWE expects losses early in 2014 because of costs to launch the WWE Network and other investments. They expect a 2014 first quarter loss of $12 to $15 million.

When asked about CM Punk, Vince stated that he is taking a sabbatical.

They were repeatedly asked for details on the new TV deals and negotiations with NBCU and other networks, but they refused to give direct answers.

The company plans to launch the Network in the UK, Canada, Australia, and Nordic countries by the end of the year or early 2015.

The goal for the WWE network is 1 million subscribers by the end of 2014.

Vince stated that WrestleMania is a huge event, and that they are excited for the event, which he thinks will be a part of a big year for the company.

When asked why they continue to stay in the movie business, Vince stated that they understood characters and story lines and already had a set of stars to use. He also said that they are on their third model with WWE Studios, and that they are doing well with it. Barrios said they were seeing a better return under their new model and would continue to evaluate with each film.

The call ended at 11:37 AM ET.

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